Thursday, May 10, 2018

Students in the urban planning Environmental Management and Policy class took on a unique project this semester. As part of a university-wide theme semester, “Climate for Change,” they prepared a park plan that takes into consideration the changing environment for the City of Iowa City.

The adaptation plan they created for the western portion of the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area encompasses people’s needs for natural outdoor spaces, plant and animal biodiversity, the unique history of this land – where Native Americans and European settlers traded before Iowa City became the first Iowa capital, and the frequent flooding of the adjacent Iowa River. The students were challenged to think broadly and creatively to include all aspects.

They have proposed a new name for this area: the Terry Trueblood Wetland Exploration Trail. Contrasting typical lawn-like parks, this area will remain very natural, keeping maintenance costs low for the city and making it adapted to flooding and sustainable. Residents will be able to gain benefits from spending time in nature by walking through the current wooded area or spending time by the river.

According to the students, this was a great experience to work on a one-of-a-kind environmental planning project. The hands-on involvement and opportunity to work with two faculty who have a combination of environmental science training and adaptation planning experience prepares them well for their future careers.

You can read more about the project on the University of Iowa’s Iowa Now website. The presentation of the student’s adaptation plan received a lot of media coverage, including from two local television stations. KCRG in Cedar Rapids ran this segment.

A larger version of the proposed site plan image is available here